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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Friends, need some advice. My 2006 Altima (purchased in October 2006 as certified from a Nissan dealer) has worked pretty well for me so far with normal wear and tear. We had to change the bottom plastic engine guard a few times (didn't bother after it fell couple of years ago) and replaced the serpentine belt at 60k miles. Other than that just regular oil / filter change every 5000 miles. The car has about 87k miles on it but I guess it's below average for a 10-year old car.

Since it's kept outside the garage in sun/rain/snow in VA, the paint on hood and roof have started coming off in multiple places - turning white in some areas. There are a few dings on the doors and minor scratches on the bumper and other areas but they are not easily noticeable like the paint chips on hood and roof.

Was thinking of trading it in and went to Carmax yesterday and they offered $1200! KBB showed 3-4k for "good" vehicles with reasonable cosmetic issues and no mechanical problems. Carmax report came out the same - they mentioned painting needed on roof and hood and retouches in other areas.

This is not the primary car for last several years and my wife uses it to get around the city mainly and occasionally 100 miles drive. I am taking it to Maaco for an estimate today. I was going to trade it in yesterday if they had offered me at least 3k.

What do you folks think about keeping a 2006 Altima with 87k miles? Does it have enough life in it to justify a paint job? If it looks good and reliable for another 5 years, I don't mind paying a bit for a good paint job. I have heard Altimas go over 150k miles but not like Accords that go over 250k miles in some cases. Since it's nearing 100k miles, any ballpark estimate on how much of maintenance / servicing required in the next 5 years? I have also seen several Altimas from 2004-07 with similar paint problem - wonder if it's common for an Altima.

Thanks for any comments.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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I assume you have the 2.5 auto. I would say at this point the car is costing you basically nothing...and I calculate on the assumption that owning a decent car will cost you about $3K per year in depreciation alone... At that rate, yours is already fully depreciated, so if you spend less than that on repairs (incl. paint) in a year, then you are ahead of the game. I see no reason for it not to go another 3-4 years...and I doubt you could spend $10K on it in that time...so if you like the car...I'd go for the paint option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I assume you have the 2.5 auto. I would say at this point the car is costing you basically nothing...and I calculate on the assumption that owning a decent car will cost you about $3K per year in depreciation alone... At that rate, yours is already fully depreciated, so if you spend less than that on repairs (incl. paint) in a year, then you are ahead of the game. I see no reason for it not to go another 3-4 years...and I doubt you could spend $10K on it in that time...so if you like the car...I'd go for the paint option.
Thanks d0ugmac1. Yes, 2.5 S with SE package. Any idea on average life for this model? I have seen reports for 05 Altima 2.5 with 150-200k+ miles but not sure if those are norms or exceptions.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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If the engine has got you this far, I don't think that will be the issue. With my '03SE....salt was the enemy...rusted brakes, rotten exhaust, ripped CV boots (ok, that was the cold, not the salt), corroded filler neck, etc etc. Your tranny is way too young to start having any of the filter/overheat/valve body issues. You will however almost certainly need a battery/engine ground strap ($30) and your alternator is maybe about due to expire ($300)... But if everything still works and it drives nicely...there's no reason to assume you need anything more than the usual battery, brakes, tires, and oil kind of maintenance.
 

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Rexian,

If I were in your situation, I would see if I could repair the paint using oxide off and see if I liked how it came out. I wouldn't pay for paint job, because if the car were to get stolen or totaled chances are you won't get the money back.

Check out the video below regarding oxide off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iun1D181Nbw

I have a 2005 Altima 2.5S 5 speed manual with 185k on it that was never garaged, and spent 3.5 years in sunny Southern AZ. My roof and the top of the trunk began to fade about 3 years ago. Applying the oxide off shown in the video made the paint look acceptable in my eyes. As for your second question. The only expensive repair I had on my car was replacing the catalytic converter ($700). Had to do that when my car hit 120k. Other than that everything that has been changed was all wear items (shocks/struts, brakes, clutch (at 173k), coolant hoses, front passenger engine mount, cv axles). Most of that I was able to do myself, which is why I still have the car. If I wasn't a do it yourselfer, I would have gotten rid of the car when catalytic converter went because doing all the work mentioned earlier would have cost me thousands if I paid someone else to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Rexian,

If I were in your situation, I would see if I could repair the paint using oxide off and see if I liked how it came out. I wouldn't pay for paint job, because if the car were to get stolen or totaled chances are you won't get the money back.

Check out the video below regarding oxide off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iun1D181Nbw

I have a 2005 Altima 2.5S 5 speed manual with 185k on it that was never garaged, and spent 3.5 years in sunny Southern AZ. My roof and the top of the trunk began to fade about 3 years ago. Applying the oxide off shown in the video made the paint look acceptable in my eyes. As for your second question. The only expensive repair I had on my car was replacing the catalytic converter ($700). Had to do that when my car hit 120k. Other than that everything that has been changed was all wear items (shocks/struts, brakes, clutch (at 173k), coolant hoses, front passenger engine mount, cv axles). Most of that I was able to do myself, which is why I still have the car. If I wasn't a do it yourselfer, I would have gotten rid of the car when catalytic converter went because doing all the work mentioned earlier would have cost me thousands if I paid someone else to do it.
Thanks djrathore81.

As I see many of you have 2.5s well above 150k and still going strong, I think I can safely drive the car for another 50k (~5 years, going by the avg miles I have driven so far in last 10 years) if maintained well.

I am not quite a DIYer like you and also have limited time availability but I did change the serpentine belt myself. The tires and brakes have been replaced but at the shop. With good deals on tires online and $15/tire installation it wasn't too bad.

I remember the front passenger engine mount used make a noise whenever going over a bump but don't remember how it went away - maybe the wife got it fixed when she took it for an oil change couple of years ago - the folks at the shop are pretty good at scaring her :)

Your advice about not spending much on this vehicle makes sense - in fact I was thinking the same and was about to trade it in but the ridiculous offer from Carmax and a search here made me realize that the car could last a lot longer if I took a little bit of care. I was trying to avoid the upcoming 90k service which costs a bit and also the repaint but as d0ugmac1 commented, it's far more economical than getting another car as long as I can live with the risk of totaling in next couple of years. Theft is unlikely for a 10-yr old car so not much risk there.

From the video and also their site, OxideOff definitely seems to make the paint quite a bit better but the oxidation is still visible from a short distance. It's cheap so probably worth a shot. I got a quote of $750 from a local Maaco store for their mid-level paintjob with 3-yr warranty. The premium job with a base coat and a clear coat is around $1100 and 5-yr warranty. They also have cheaper basic option with 1-yr warranty I am leaning towards the $750 option and plan to keep the car in the shade as much as possible. I feel like I owe it to the car.
 

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One thing I can tell you is to NOT get the whole car painted.

Most of these newer cars have the body panels sectioned off so its very easy to just paint the top surfaces.

Example. Usually the hood, top, and trunk lid are where you're going to see the paint lifting.

The hood, and trunk lid can both be removed from the vehicle so they are easy to paint separately from the car.

The top is sectioned off by the molding, and front/rear window so it too is easily painted.

The trick is that if your car's paint is metallic you will have to use some high quality paint like Dupont Chroma base.

I have tried matching Duponts lower end paint, Nason, to metallic paint without good results. However Nason does match solid colors pretty good.

Just painting where the old paint is lifting should save you a good bit vs painting the whole car.
 

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Rexian, how often did you wax your car? Regardless of whether you get your car repainted or a new one, one thing I would suggest going forward is to wax your car every 4 months. Especially if it spends a lot of time outside during the day. I never seen anyone have a problem with sun damage if they waxed their car every 4 months regardless of where they lived.
 
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